Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire have released a new single titled ‘Sliding’ alongside an accompanying music video. The track is off the Scottish seven-piece’s new album ‘Swithering’, which is out now, and evokes the big, vast sound of bands like The National and The War on The Drugs, while more classic influences like Bruce Springsteen are also evident. After their 2013 self-titled debut, the band earned a nomination for Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award, as well as multiple appearances on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and have performed at both SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas and more recently Glastonbury. Their new album ‘Swithering’ marks an ambitious step forward, as the band worked with Paul Savage (Mogwai, Emma Pollock), who co-produced the album, resulting in a record that is as diverse as it is resonant.
GIGsoup caught up with Roddy Hart to talk about the band’s new single and album, as well as their summer and future plans.
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What was the process of recording your new album, ‘Swithering’? Considering the acclaim of your debut, did it feel like a challenge?
We definitely wanted to test ourselves as a band and try to figure out where we could take things after the first record, which we felt established a blueprint of sorts but only scratched the surface musically. We had a rehearsal room in an old town hall in Govan, Glasgow which was cheap and allowed us to give over a whole year to writing and recording. That allowed us the space to find the songs we wanted to find.
Naming your album after the Scottish verb “swither” seems like a conscious choice. How important is your Scottish identity to you?
The title has a double meaning for us. It absolutely confirms our Scottish identity, which started to emerge more in the lyrics I was writing as the album revealed itself, but it also seemed to perfectly describe the uncertainty that lay at the heart of making the record. There were frequent moments of doubt as we questioned which direction to head in. But its eclecticness became its strength in the end, I hope.
What would you say the track ‘Sliding’ is about? How does it fit into the tracklisting?
It’s the centrepiece in many ways because it gives the album its name. The line “I was sure about it/But now I’m swithering” is a key theme that runs throughout the record. Self-doubt of the healthiest kind.
In the video, we see posters of artists like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen. What other musicians have influenced you and in what ways?
Too many to mention, but those guys are obviously the big guns when it comes to songwriting aesthetics and authenticity. More recently I’ve been a big fan of Wilco, The National, War On Drugs, Arcade Fire. That amalgamation of songwriting intellect and heart is something I can’t resist.
What’s behind all the eye-related imagery surrounding the video and the album artwork?
The video was directed by the genius that is Mandy Shannon, a Glasgow filmmaker, and she wanted to make something about the voyage into the mind that the song most likely suggests. It’s all in the eyes, and she captured the feel perfectly we think.
You’ve had quite an extraordinary summer so far, from releasing your album to playing alongside Kris Kristofferson on the Pyramid stage at Glastonbury. How does it feel and are there any other highlights you would like to share?
It’s been fun! I started my career as support to Kris many years ago and so it was a real thrill to be asked to accompany him for his Glastonbury debut, alongside my band mate John Martin. The honour of a lifetime, and hard to beat this year!